Bradley's View

Bradley's View

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On The Brink Of... Something...

     Here I sit, slightly crazed and perhaps rightfully restless.  Preparing to enter a loose state of homelessness, saying goodbye to a beloved cat, shaking myself free of over half of my belongings, and preparing to embark on my loftiest running ambition yet in a few short days.

     I can reflect upon and read over my training log from the past several months and convince myself time and time again that I am well-prepared, and time and time again that my approach to preparation was all off.  How well could I prepare really?  Sure, I've run 50, but 77?!  77 miles isn't a light task, though I've been tossing the idea around in my head as just another outing, a good long run with a friend in some great scenery, but its beginning to seem quite monumental and rather mountainous.  From a distance it was but a bump on the horizon, but now, standing at the base of the mountain looking up I find it difficult to make out the summit through the trees and contours of the ridges, I'm second guessing the gear I have on hand and wondering how I'll catch myself if I fall...

     The fact of the matter is, I am as prepared as I am right now.  That statement isn't intended to perplex or be philosophical, thats just the way it is.  I guess this is one of those instances where you just take what life throws at you- or, in this case, what I threw into my future and, with the crossing of calendar days, is whirling back at me like a bona-fied boomerang.  Well I'm going to take that boomerang, damnit, and I'm going to run with it.

     Like they always say:  If life gives you lemons, eat a gel.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Week In Review: 2/13-2/19/2012: New PR(s)!

      An ideal mix of hard running with easy-going runs.  Lots of great weather and beautiful scenery.  Really psyched about how Wednesday's long run went; I felt I managed nutrition really well and was able to move at a pretty good clip late in the run.  I feel ready for Rhode Island, no doubt, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat!

2/13- Monday
     AM- 8 miles with Adam and Mike on the MST and up Busbee in 1:05.  1,100 ft
     PR: Busbee ascent in 15:10, over a minute faster than previous timed effort!      

2/14- Tuesday
     AM- 7.5 miles with Melissa and Luna on the Sandy Bottoms 12k Loop in 1:20.  800 ft

2/15- Wednesday
     AM-  31 miles around Bent Creek and north on the MST to meet Adam for the final 8. Great day's work, huge confidence boost- left me feeling ready for the 77 miler next week in Rhode Island!  3,700 ft.
     PR: Probably on all of these as far as trails are concerned.  Certainly the marathon and 50k times, though.
    Splits: 13.1 miles- 1:49, 21- 2:55, 26.2- 3:37, 31- 4:10

2/16- Thursday
     AM-  5 miles in 1:00 with Mel and Luna.  Bushwhacked a while up to the summit of Cold Knob ~3,656(?) only to discover a trail on the other side of the summit... oops... It was a blast!  ~800 ft

2/17- Friday
      Resting?  Laziness?

2/18- Saturday
      Unfortunate last minute confusion led to missing the WNC Trailrunner's Rattle My Heart 50k and I think I was too caught up in moping about it to actually get out for a run before I headed off to work..

2/19- Sunday
     AM- 4 miles in 31:20 at UNCA.  300 ft

Totals: 56 miles, 8 hours 6 minutes, 6,700 ft

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Week In Review: 2/06-2/12/2012 Running With Family And A New PR

     New trails,  swimming, snow, seldom-seen faces, and shorter runs made this a really fun and relaxed week of training.  It was great to go on three 5-mile outings with Melissa as she gets her body ready for a half-marathon on April 1st.  A real pleasure to get to run with my brother, David, on some trails around his current stomping grounds near Damascus, VA.  It was sheer delight to have my dad swing by Asheville and join me and Luna on some of our favorite trails featuring summits, waterfalls, reservoirs, and picturesque paths.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to share the forests and fitness with my family I love so dearly.
      I am also really psyched about a new personal record on the Seven Sister's Summits Run!  This route is by far one of my favorites and one of the more challenging around.  It also holds a special place in my heart as it was the second time I ever ran on trails, about two years ago now.  A year ago, towards the end of my preparation for the Bel Monte 50, I posted a pretty stellar time on the route.   Seeing that I'm now at a fitness level that allowed me to lower that time by almost 4.5 minutes leaves me feeling very confident going into Runs For Relief: Rhode Island in 2 weeks!
Here is how it all panned out:

2/6- Monday
      AM- 13 miles in 2 hours, 2000ft with Adam, Ryan, and Luna.  Started at the Folk Art and headed north on the MST, then headed back to the FAC and over to Adam's house.

2/7- Tuesday
     AM- 5.5 miles in 1 hour with Mel and Luna, 800ft. Lower Sidehill/Explorer Loop, ended with a swim in Lake Powhatan

     AM- Seven Sister's Summit Run with Luna.  16 miles, 2:34:58, 4000 ft

2/9- Thursday
     PM- 5 miles with Melissa and Luna in 47:45 from the house around Carrier Park and back. 250 ft

2/10- Friday
     PM- 4.5 miles with David (brother), Mel, and Luna in :55 near Damascus, VA.  1,200 ft

2/11- Saturday
     No reason I didn't run, just didn't

2/12- Sunday
     AM- 8.5 miles with my dad and Luna in 1:54. Bent Creek Gap over Ferrin Knob and around Mills River area. 1,500 ft

Totals: 52.5 miles, 9 hours 10 minutes, 9,750 ft

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Week In Review: 1/30/12-2/5/2012

      This past Thursday, the 2nd, marked my 2-year anniversary of running, celebrated with a great run!  This week also wrapped up the month of January in which I covered about 238 miles on trails in Western North Carolina.  Yeehaw!

      I had the pleasure of seeing many many miles of new trails this week and running with a bunch of great folks.  I was absolutely delighted to meet Mike over at Umstead and can't thank him enough for the tour and insight about the park.  Best wishes at the Umstead Marathon, Mike!   I consider myself very blessed to be feeling healthy and strong, and really looking forward to Runs For Relief: Rhode Island in a couple of weeks.

      I think Luna ran a record number of miles this week logging about 62, including a 7 mile jaunt around Salem Lake with "Grandpa" on Saturday.  What a pup!  Here is what we ran this week:

1/30- Monday
      AM- 5.5 miles in 45 minutes with Mel and Luna, 800 ft.  Loop around Bear Branch in Mills River area and Bad Creek trail up to Bent Creek Gap
      Also AM- 3.1 miles on Lower Sidehill Trail with Luna, 25 minutes

1/31- Tuesday
     AM- 8 miles in 1:15 with Luna, Trace Ridge to Beaverdam, Spencer Branch to Reservoir to trailhead, ~1800 ft
     Also AM- 7 miles with Mel and Luna in 1:45, to the Reservoir and Spencer Branch and Neverending Rd to trailhead ~500 ft?

2/1- Wednesday
     PM- 7 miles with Adam and Luna on the MST near Sweeten Creek in 57 minutes, 840 ft

2/2- Thursday
     AM- 19 miles with Luna (first 13 with Mike and Adam).  Sweet loop through Mills River area from Bent Creek Gap, then Bent Creek Gap to Lake Powhatan to meet Melissa in 2:40. 2,850 ft

2/3- Friday
    A little biking

2/4- Saturday
    AM- About 15 miles in Umstead State Park (1 loop of Umstead 100 miler course + some Sycamore Loop) in 2 hours, 1000 ft.  Always a pleasure to meet local trailrunners.

2/5- Sunday
    AM- 4 miles in Winston-Salem with Luna in 29:38.

Totals:  68.5 miles,10 hours 15 minutes, 7,000 ft gain

Forecast, Shmorecast- Control The Weather

       It is with great frequency that I hear or make a comment regarding the weather, especially in the midst of weather as unseasonable as that which we've been experiencing.  With this in mind, I present some mindless musings regarding sunshine and clouds, which have been generated during runs this week:

      There are two types of weather in Western North Carolina, as far as I have observed, Type 1 is Perfect Running Weather.  This is defined by a temperature where wearing minimal clothing is comfortable for the entirety of the run, additionally, hopping in a creek or lake afterwards is not considered lunacy, the sun will typically be shining, you can see forever in every direction, etc...
Type 2 is called running weather and is further divided into sub-categories (i.e: good RW, great RW, really great RW, awesome RW, almost perfect RW), which can be created to an infinite number as, presumably, there are an infinite different combinations of temperature/humidity/precipitation/trail conditions/time of day/forever and ever, Amen.

       Not to tote my glass as half full, because I'll likely knock it off the table, but I enjoy the weather every single day.  If its pouring down rain, I know that Luna and I are going to be dancing and hop-scotching through puddles all day and have muddy legs to show for it; Oh?, its sweltering out, you say? Well, we'll just have to plan a route that allows us to stop and soak or splash in a stream or two during the circuit;  if it dips a few degrees below freezing with a windchill to equal the temperature, then I know taking the brunt of the wind and freezing air will wake me and shake me like no amount of coffee ever could.   The possible conditions go on, and the excuses I find to enjoy it remains a step ahead.

      Funny related scenario-  On Friday, when I was running at Umstead on the Sycamore Loop, (which I would highly recommend to anyone as it felt like a soft sidewalk covered in pine needles- a lot of fun to run on), it had started to rain a little bit, not bad though, and the sun had tucked away and taken some of the warm temperature with it.  Anyways, to finish setting the stage, I'm running on this great trail with wings on my feet, grinning from ear to ear, and approach a family.  We exchange a quick "hello", and then I proclaim, "What a great day to be out here, huh?!" And one of the children in tow responds, visibly grumpy, "What are you talking about, its rainy and cloudy?!".  Startled by the retort my grin grew, perhaps stretching from temporal lobe to temporal lobe at this point.  And I then noticed that, to the untrained eye, he was spot on with the weather description.  Poor kid, instead of noticing that the weather was allowing him to create a unique experience as dictated by these particular variables that had aligned and represented this particular day, he thought it to be a lousy day just because it wasn't sunny.
      Now, hear here, Sonny, and anyone else who may be weighted down by such an attitude, I encourage you to try this:  1) Go outside in weather that doesn't necessarily align with your preferences, 2) Do something you enjoy (dance, sing, laugh, read, cook, run, whatever, anything, everything) 3) Repeat.

      I believe that folks like Umstead-Kid just need to introduce a couple of positive experiences in poor/inclamite/down-right-dangerous weather, and then, perhaps overnight the paradigm or schema for what is delightful weather can be completely redefined.

      Just go outside and LOVE it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Runs for Relief: Rhode Island

     After a lot of diligent work between myself and Rob Rives (see Art Loeb Trail and Mt. Pisgah Marathon) I feel confident and comfortable to share this project with the multitude of few people that view my blog.

     As you have gathered over the days or months that you've glanced at this blog, I really enjoy running, and its likely that you do too. I believe that the benefits of running to a person's health and sanity are undeniable and to be embraced whole-heartedly.  So, not to sound mushy or preachy but, when I think "whole-heartedly" the scope of thought immediately extends beyond myself and thus arises the question, "How can my pursuit of my passion benefit others?"

    Ta-da!  Runs For Relief is born.  Well, I must digress; Rob and I share many commonalities, the most relevant of which are as follows: 1) We are both blessed with a gift for running (arguable), and  2) We are both cursed by a disease called psoriasis (irregardlessly in-negotiable).  Last month, Rob proposed that I drive up north and meet him to run across Rhode Island, with no hesitation I agreed.  After a bit more discussion it came to our attention that an excursion like this could be a launching point for something greater...

     Ta-da x2!  Runs For Relief is born as a benefit project for the National Psoriasis Foundation.  We will be raising awareness of the often-misunderstood disease that we share with 7.5 million other Americans while raising research funds to support the projects of the National Psoriasis Foundation.

     In summary, we are going to run ~55 miles across Rhode Island on February 27th, we will run across other states in the name of psoriasis research, and we would love your support ("like" us on facebook, follow our blog, make a donation, or just tell us what you think of the project)!

     Thanks for checking in!